YAMAHA R1 (1998-2003) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with"

Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding

"Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with"

  • At a glance
  • 998cc  -  150 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • Medium seat height (815mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The third and final great sports bike of the nineties. The FireBlade set the agenda, the 916 added finesse and the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with and updated Yamaha YZF-R1s are even more potent and easier to use too.

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R1 is a track bike to demolish rivals and wring the rider’s adrenal glands dry. The original 98-99 model was the liveliest and hardest to tame. Later Yamaha YZF-R1s were easier to pilot but don’t think that means they’re soft in any way. The original Yamaha YZF-R1 was slightly hard to turn into corners and could run wide. Later versions were improved with a stiffer headstock and firmer forks. Ace brakes.

 

Engine 4 out of 5

Evoultion at it’s finest – the technology’s not hugely changed since the FZR1000 of 1989 but the Yamaha YZF-R1 has always delivered a minimum of 150bhp (130 at the wheel). Torque is never in short supply and the bike’s light weight makes the most of both. The Yamaha YZF-R1's gearbox can be a little reluctant.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

No major problems and finish is much better than early/mid 90s Yamahas. Beware race/track Yamaha YZF-R1s which have been thrashed. Problems with the gearbox are very rare despite internet rumours suggesting otherwise. The black finish on the frame and swingarm of 2003/03 Yamaha YZF-R1s rubs off easily.

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R1 was top dog sports bike until the GSX-R1000 appeared in 2001. Parallel imports and stiff competition from Honda and Suzuki mean prices stay sensible. But equally there’s no such thing as a good, clean, cheap Yamaha YZF-R1 – they’re a desirable bike and good ones always sell. Honda’s FireBlade from 2002 onwards is a comparable machine and the GSX-R arguably better.

Find a Yamaha R1 for sale

Insurance group: 16 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Extra equipment on a race rep just ads weight so the Yamaha YZF-R1’s pretty minimal. Comfort’s pretty good for a rider although Yamaha YZF-R1 pillions must be brave. Headlights are effective even if the mirrors aren’t brilliant. There’s some underseat storage too unlike later Yamaha YZF-R1s where exhausts occupy that space – although from 2002 it’s minimal.

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R1 (1998-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.9 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

1998 R1 4XV

10 August 2011 by samsex

I have had my white/red 98 R1 for over 5 yrs. I set the bike up as per a Performance Bike magazine recommendation and boy what a superb machine. I have a 15/46 sprocket combo, which put the speedo out, so I fitted a speedo healer unit to correct the... Read more readout. The bike is mint and always draws admiring comments. It is extremely quick, very light on the front under hard acceleration and shakes it head (which i like!) Knee downs are a doddle, although if the tyre pressures drift off a bit, it does affect the handling quite a lot, so you need to keep checking it. The early bikes are getting more sought after, and only a few weeks ago I was offered a 'Name Your Price' to sell it, which I declined. I have owned many bikes, including a Honda SP1, the R1 wipes the floor with it in my opinion. Get one while you can!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

YamahaR1 5pw 2003 review

11 August 2010 by stevejacko101

excellent all round bike, mines a 2003 fuel injected model. Fitted a power commander to smooth the power out, fuel silencer and KN aitfilter, goes like the wind and still looks the part. only one negative, its a bit thirsty on the petrol but the... Read more smile factor overcomes this. next mod is to put a racefit silencer on it and get it remapped and dyno'd.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

brilliant bike

09 January 2010 by leeyamr1

Had my 02 R1 for 2 years and its the carb model not the fuel injected model and its a brill bike will be keeping this one for a long long time thank god for plenty of storage under rear seat for all my onboard camera gear again a great bike Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

brilliant bike

09 January 2010 by leeyamr1

Had my 02 R1 for 2 years and its the carb model not the fuel injected model and its a brill bike will be keeping this one for a long long time thank god for plenty of storage under rear seat for all my onboard camera gear again a great bike Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

r1 99

04 October 2009 by nordkey

hi ive ridden my r1 now for the last 5yrs its a v reg 99 and is the best handleing bike ive ridden fast is jus silly and exceloation is amazin id only get rid of it 4 a 2001 model Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great bike

08 August 2009 by lorano

Got my 2000 R1 last weekend after owning an RRW fireblade.To say the R1 is fast is an understatement!!Its silly fast,really torquey pulls like a train even in top gear!Looks fantastic,looks how many modern sports bikes do now.Impressed so far so... Read more heres hoping it can only get better!!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

brilliant

03 June 2009 by voser

I sold my 07 R6 2 months ago and was very upset. I had a Ducati Monster 900 as a stop gap which didn't improve my mood. This month I got hold of a 2000 Model R1 and I am overjoyed. Accelleration, feedback, smooth pick-up, and looks! My favourite bike... Read more to date.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Still scarey

01 February 2009 by all624

Had my 99 from new, still with minimal miles. The power delivery and engine is awesome in a good but scarey way. Build quality superb and looks that have not really aged that much. Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

R1 2002, 5 Years from New

18 September 2008 by JesteR6

I loved it. Was getting a bit long in the tooth, so had to let her go. The injection R1 was tamer than the original that's why I held off getting it. Test rode both but found the 2002 model to be a lot more user friendly. The handling was superb and... Read more the engine was powerful and reliable. Loved the angular design although its not to everyone's taste. Fitting aftermarket parts does make a difference ie exhaust and power commander, but it's down to individuality what your after. I would highly recommend you get one if you fancy an R1 but can't afford a newer version.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

2002 fuel injected model

24 March 2007 by steveburrows

Bought a 2002 black framed R1 after owning CBR6's for 15 odd years. Power and handling is amazing, to be honest there is to much power for the bumpy B roads i ride. Full throttle results with massive tank slappers, so you have to short shift through... Read more the gears. I find a 600 suits me better, i am able to thrash a 600 on these sort of roads, whereas the R1 is to much. I know a steering damper would cover this up, but i still think think i would be quicker along the same piece of road on a 600. Running costs are amazingly cheap, it returns about 45mpg, a set of sticky Pirelli Corsa's lasts me 3500 miles, i am hoping the new Michelin Pilot Power will last about 5000 miles. Insurance is dead cheap, it costs me £128 fire & theft for the year. The only modification i have done is an Akropovic titanium end can, and I have had it Dyno'd at 142bhp (I dont know what it made with the standard can). Everything seems well made, seems as good as my Honda. I have seen stone chips on mudguard of other blue models, but new they only cost £75. ( i replaced mine after disc lock accident). Lovely handling, loads of low down grunt, easliy read dash, reasonably comfy, even through town. Good value for what you get, and in my opinion the best looking 1000cc bike of that vintage (the fireblades look bland, with crap colour schemes)

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
Read all 14 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1998
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 16 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 150 bhp
Max torque 80 ft-lb
Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 20v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 815mm
Bike weight 175kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1998: Original Yamaha YZF-R1 launched.
2000: Revised Yamaha YZF-R1 has 150 changes – most noticeable sleeker tail unit and titanium exhaust.
2002: More changes to Yamaha YZF-R1 for less weight, more power, fuel injection  and more environmentally friendly. Black frame and swing arm, letterbox tail light.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Instruments
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Brakes
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